Swift Boat Watch: Health Care for America NOW!

See all Swift Boat Watch entries here .

Who They Are: Health Care for AmericaNow

Purpose: Tosupport quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

Director: The national campaign manager is Richard Hirsch, previously executive director of Citizen Action, anorganization that helped the poor find insurance in New York state.

Funding: Theorganization has received a $10million dollar grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies as well as $500,000 apiece from their 16 steeringcommittee members , which include ,the Center for American ProgressAction Fund , and the recentlytargeted community-organizing group ACORN .

Cost: $1 million,part of a larger $4.3 million dollar ad buy that will air similar ads againstcongressional candidates.

Where It Ran: Thead aired on national cable and major markets in Ohio for two weeks starting Oct. 8.

Claims: The ad isnarrated by a woman with cancer who says that John McCain’s health care plancould cause 20 million people lose their employer-provided health insuranceplans. Those with existing conditions like her, she says, would not be able toget a new plan.

Accuracy: JohnMcCain’s health careplan would give families a $5,000 dollar tax refundable tax credit topurchase health insurance while reducing incentives that encourage employers toprovide their employees with coverage. The main thrust of the ad – that 20million people would lose their insurance if John McCain’s plan were instituted– is supported by a recentpaper published in the journal HealthAffairs and a follow-upreport (PDF) by the Economic Policy Institute. These studies argue that, withfewer tax incentives, fewer businesses will offer insurance plans. TheCommonwealth Fund has documented the difficulty of finding health care individually after losing anemployer-sponsored plan and the Kaiser Family Foundation including in the caseof breast-cancersurvivors (PDF) and other individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, anotherrecent study (PDF), by the health system consultant HSI , argued that McCain’s plan would infact reduce the number of uninsured people by 20 million. And a TaxPolicy Center report (PDF) lands in the middle, agreeing that McCain’s proposalwould cause 20 million to lose or leave their employer-sponsored program butsaying also that overall the proposal would decrease the number of uninsured byone million as 21 million bought non-employer-sponsored plans, including someof those who lost their employer-sponsored plans. has examined McCain’s proposal and found a consensus among health care expertsthat McCain’s proposal would most likely cause employers to reduce the coverageoffered. Their report also stated that while some would benefit from theadjustment of incentives, the old and unhealthy would probably get the shortend of the stick, as Jane Bryant Quinn argued in Newsweek .

Swift Boat Rating :
Several studies state that around 20 million people couldlose their employer-sponsored coverage, though the ad doesn’t mention that manywould likely get non-employer plans. That being said, many health care experts agreewith the assertion that McCain’s plan would make it harder for people like the womanportrayed in the ad to secure health insurance.
Background: HealthCare for America Now is a coalition of non-profits and public officials. Obamahas signed their statement ofprinciples .